Nagoya Marathon announced that race will have up to 11,000 participants
The Mar. 14 Nagoya Women's Marathon announced this year's field yesterday, the same day that vaccinations officially began in Japan. It's another domestic-only race, but it has a great potential trio up front and looks to be going ahead with a mass-participation race.
Up front are last year's Osaka International Women's Marathon winner Mizuki Matsuda, 25 km national record co-holder Sayaka Sato, and Tokyo Olympics marathon team member Ayuko Suzuki. Suzuki is only 9th by recent time, but with a half marathon best of 1:07:55 and this being her first shot at a fast marathon she's definitely got the potential to stay with Matsuda and Sato.
Reia Iwade and Rei Ohara have both run 2:23 but neither has been near that level in the last few years, Iwade in particular having dropped out of Osaka last month and only running 1:13:10 last weekend at the National Corporate Half. Mao Uesugi, Haruka Yamaguchi and Mirai Waku all ran Osaka too, so whether they start and how seriously they run remains to be seen. Yomogi Akasaka had a breakthrough to win December's Hofu Yomiuri Marathon in 2:29:21 and could be a surprise.
Nagoya is heavy this year on talent in the first-timer department, Ikumi Fukura coming in top-ranked with a best of 1:09:58 and four others with bests under 71 minutes. Olympian Mai Ito ran well at the National Corporate Half with her best time since before Rio and will be looking to finish her first marathon since Osaka in January 2017. Further down the field, 62-year-old Mariko Yugeta will be trying to better the 2:52:13 60+ world record she set in Osaka this year.
Pre-corona, Nagoya was the largest women-only marathon in the world. Last year it was held as an elite-only race, but this year it took mass-participation entrants up to a limit of 11,000. Earlier this month Nagoya issued a statement inviting entrants to switch to a virtual race, but at this stage it looks like it will go ahead with an on-site race for every entrant who still wants to run, assuming no extension to the current state of emergency set to expire on Mar. 7.
With every other race in Japan that size having already canceled or postponed this season, going ahead with its race would put Nagoya in a class of its own and give some much-needed hope that things are actually starting to turn around.
posted Friday February 19th
by Brett Larner